Voices & Choices

Canada’s Conservative Party used ranked choice voting to pick new leader

Canada’s Conservative Party used ranked choice voting to pick new leader

We recently reported on Canada’s British Columbia Liberal Party election and the role ranked choice voting plays in selecting a new party leader. Canada’s most populated province, Ontario, recently used ranked choice voting (RCV) to determine the next leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative race. Doug Jones was declared winner of the Ontario PC leadership race through a preferential ballot, also known as RCV.

Second and third choices are vital on these preferential ballots, it can result in “a candidate who has more support than any other being overtaken by a consensus candidate who might have fewer supporters but is more acceptable to a broader swath of a party's membership.” As a voter, your power is in your ability to rank candidates in order of preference. It also places more responsibility on the candidates to reach out beyond their base supporters. Candidates understand that in order to win, they have to reach out to different parts of the province to members who may not rank them first, but would consider ranking them second or third. In a close race, those calculations make all the difference.

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